MEMPHIS, Tenn. — UPDATE 4:20 p.m. - The following news release was sent to Local 24 News by Shelby County Schools.
"Today, Shelby County Schools (SCS) Superintendent Dr. Joris M. Ray announced District-wide Fall sports participation is postponed until further notice.
- Fall sports is being postponed until further notice.
- While we are ALL virtual, we will not resume athletics. However, as we explore in-person options, we will indeed consider offering families the athletic option to return to play.
- Despite collaborative efforts in the District and locally to reduce the spread of the Coronavirus, there is still far too much uncertainty to move forward with athletic practices and competitions at this time.
- Our decision to postpone athletics until further notice is yet another unimaginable consequence of an unprecedented time.
Despite collaborative efforts in the District and locally to reduce the spread of COVID-19, there is still far too much uncertainty to move forward with athletic practices and competitions at this time. This decision to postpone contact sports until further notice is yet another unimaginable consequence of an unprecedented time.
While students continue to learn virtually, SCS will not resume fall sports. However, as in-person options are explored, the District will indeed consider offering families the athletic option to return to play.
“In my more than 23 years as an educator and administrator in Shelby County Schools, the decisions I’ve had to grapple with during this pandemic have been some of the hardest to deliver,” said Supt. Ray. “I love athletics just as much as anyone else, but even as a sports fan, I love our student-athletes more than athletics. We will continue to follow science and do what’s best for our students.“
The District continues to rely on guidance from both local and national health experts when considering the safety of our students and families. SCS has been working closely with the CDC, the Health Department and the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS), and all of them have cautioned us about the risks of spreading the virus through athletic participation. Local Infectious Disease Specialist Dr. Manoj Jain recently cautioned SCS leaders that “given the uncertainties around the novel coronavirus and the undiagnosed number of cases in our community, contact sports are a bad idea at the present time.”
"With so much at stake, major decisions like this are not easy but are made in the best interests of our students, families, and staff,” said School Board Chair Miska Clay Bibbs. “Their safety is our top priority and I commend Superintendent Ray for weathering the storm in order to protect our student-athletes, coaches and the community."
The District must also consider the potential health impact on multi-generational families and the sobering fact that many of our students don’t have access to specialists, health insurance, urgent care and frequent testing.
At this time, we will continue conditioning and independent workouts until further notice. Superintendent Ray has appointed a team of athletic leaders whose focus is on showcasing the incredible talents of our student-athletes to ensure post-secondary readiness and opportunities, especially for junior and senior athletes.
Read the full transcript from Superintendent Ray’s video here."
4:10 p.m. - Shelby County Schools is postponing fall sports until further notice.
In a message posted to social media, SCS Superintendent Dr. Joris Ray said: "We must lean on the guidance of EXPERTS and not EMOTIONS. Our decision to postpone fall athletics until further notice is another unimaginable consequence of an unprecedented time. We will do all we can to return to play SAFELY."
This is a developing story and we will bring you the latest as it becomes available.